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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2006 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews
As posted to R.A.M.D. and submitted to Sound Machine

Page Two of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Friday August 11

Madison, WI (DCI World Championships Semifinals)

RH's Fair and Balanced (not) Look at 2006's Top 17 of 2006
I was sitting low in the lower deck at midfield and could hear and see details quite well but couldn't see the overall drill design or the visual ensemble (unless it was really off) very well. Your mileage may vary, particularly elsewhere in the stadium or on high cam.

Some general comments. After a hot and rainy summer, the weather was blessedly close to ideal. The audience was the best behaved finals crowd (when it can be touch-and-go, especially in the squeezed confines of Camp Randall) that I can remember, at least within my earshot.

I wasn't aware of any changes in show design in the final week.

Some final placements (especially BK vs. Crown) were controversial with the Camp Randall crowd, but controversy was inevitable. For once, the outcome proved to be very much in doubt, and it was the most hotly contested DCI finals at least since 1980, if not ever. Things went so unexpectedly as twelfth place up through fourth were announced, that when Brant Crocker got to third and second, you could tell, nobody knew what was coming next.

Everybody in top twelve except Spirit remained in a cluster with one or more other corps within a point of them, trading captions aggressively with lots of ordinal variation within and across shows. So when people say, "No way did Blue Knights beat Crown"... well, when two corps are within a point of each other, the outcome depends who the judges were and where their eyes and ears were focused. For fans in the stands or at home to say "no way" is really not fair. We want suspense? Then we have to live with unpredictable and controversial results. The judges did their jobs and called it as they saw and heard it, no matter what went down the night before or in July. So though I didn't personally agree with about half the placements :shock: (though no more than one place away), I give a big shoutout to the DCI judges for a job well done this week.

Mandarins "Rhythm Nation"
New unis are a nice look (though I missed the Samurai warrior outfit on the DM, even if it was a cultural misfit for the Mandarins).
War drum start, leading with their strength.
Yellow PVC tubes used by guard add sound and visuals.
Transition out of percussion feature to ballad.
Ring flags in Metheny closer.
Guard energy and dance.

Slow to bring hornline into show (even into drill).
Major music ensemble tear in contras in Metheny closer.
Guard drops.

Capital Regiment "Life Rhythms: Work Rest and Play"
I especially liked...
The general concept.
Their Eric Whitacre and Philip Glass musical book. I'd be happier with more Eric Whitacre and Philip Glass and less Pat Metheny in DCI.
Guard unis.
Transition to Rest; for example, the typist slowing down-- nice use of sound effect, by the way
Cross-field Frisbee toss in Play section.
Best amplified vocals of the year-- actually added to the show because it was left as a quiet and fun mood-setter to the background-- didn't try to override or compete with percussion
Amplified tubes original, upbeat percussive effect.
Their highly skilled sound board technician, blending amplified sound to horns and field drums to great effect.

I wasn't particularly keen on...
The DM reading a newspaper and taking too long to get underway before start of show. I get the concept connection of it and the checking of wristwatch to the Work opener, but more than setting the stage, I thought it unintentionally communicated a mildly rude disdain for the audience.
Some music ensemble issues in Work
Horns had trouble with contrasts and smooth changes in dynamics in Work and Rest
Air drumming by brass players during drum feature in Play-- distracting, ineffective visual (because it looked like lousy drumming).

Blue Stars "The Gift of Freedom"
Welcome back to Division I with a strong showing here in 2006.
The "Freedom to Worship" section-- and this might have been the hardest one to do tastefully -- was nicely staged, an effective contrast in visual and musical mood with rest of show; attractive and moving flag design.
Good quality singing in unamplified vocals.
Most audience members loved this show.

Free Manure:
Sorry Blue Stars, but this was the only 2006 show I personally had a negative reaction to overall. Disney World-parade patriotism, designed and performed way too "Up With People" for me. Take for example (please) the annoying, over-the-top facial expressions, to the point of distorted cheerleader grinning on the guard members during "Freedom From Want", "Freedom of the Press", and "Freedom From Fear". The music was somewhat different, but visually these three sections were indistinguishable in style except for changes in the flags and a few other visual details and the rest of the design lacked connection to concept. I don't like shows driven by narration. Shut up and let the music and visuals tell your story.. If it doesn't work without a narrator, it doesn't work at all. And enough awready with "Simple Gifts" in DCI.

Crossmen "Changing Lanes"
Wolfman Jack:
Fun and lighthearted. Audience very much into it.
Reasonably good color design, a big improvement over last year's nightmare anything-went pastiche.
Effective start to the show (starting the car).
Best blend of brass and percussion, with smooth dynamic control and contrast, to this point in the show.
Best screaming "sop" soloists of 2006, in "Born To Be Wild".
The green hometown flags used by the guard in the ballad served as a reminder that each of the kids out there is not just a member of a corps, but an individual, with his or her own story. Touching and very effective.

Howard Stern:
Amplified radio announcers painfully loud where I was sitting-- I guess that's like many radio stations today, though, so maybe that fits the concept.
The extended radio segment was a little too choppy for my taste. Though again, this fits the concept, all the quick shifts in gears limit show development. For example, just as the ballad is reaching a quietly dramatic end, the announcer interrupts, saying "To those caught in congestion on I-90: all lanes are open; have a safe trip home" doesn't ring true (announcers don't say this) and drains all the emotion away. Not good.
A little too halftime show.

Colts "Continuum"
Victor Laszlo Leading "Le Marsellaise":
Musical book, nicely arranged and well performed. "Time To Go!" and "Ride" very strong.
"As Time Goes By" powerful and moving. I didn't miss the Blue Devils' performance of this piece hearing the Colts do it.
Marching cymbals.
Very striking orange, yellow and gold flags in opener, and purple flags with stars in "As Time Goes By".
Strong power-up in "Windsprints" at the three minute mark.

Major Strasser Leading "Die Wacht Am Rhine"
Derivative visually, borrowing lots of elements from earlier designs by other corps (such as clocks-- enough awready also with the clocks on the field in DCI).
Ending drill ("Ride") is visually weak; needs more drill velocity. The corps is slowly spreading sideways. As long as you're ripping off other shows, cross left and right sides a la Cadets, fast- or run-marching past each other to get some needed visual speed there.

Spirit from JSU "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue"
Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
I enjoyed the concept.
Very effective use of color in guard unis and flags (other than the neon ones, which I didn't like).
Great to hear the old ("Ol' Man River/Old Black Magic" and "Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters") again, as well as the
New "On the Lake" a beautiful and moving ballad.
Flag and equipment work in guard.
Drums stronger than peers.
Very controlled performance.

The Smell of Teen Spirit
Very controlled performance. Needed to cut loose and sell it.
Horns tried to play it cool but were a bit too tentative in "Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters".
The borrowed Blue Devils arrangement of "Blues in the Night", when the horns tried to cut loose, made me miss the Blue Devils' performance of it... did not compare well. Tributes that don't exceed or match are not good tributes.
Dance work in guard fell short of equipment work.

Glassmen "Beethoven: Mastery and Madness"
My expectation coming in to this season was that it would be hard to carry off Beethoven music in drum corps without seeming (not this crap again) "boring", but Glassmen do carry it off with panache and anything but ennui.
Their guard spins while wearing hats. That's not easy to do, and rarely seen today.
Phantom-like symphonic sound, essential to this show concept.
Lovely mood contrasts in "Sonata No. 14", with a great build to loud and fade back to nothing.
Fun waltz in "Diabelli".

Some recurring horn phasing issues.
Some of the "whimsical" visual touches (such as the look of "A Chorus Line" in the guard in the opener, and the hoop skirts and ribald faces in the "Diabelli") come across a bit forced, like Steve Carell wearing a lampshade on his head at the office party. G-men guard not as over-the-top in facial expressions as Blue Stars, but still a little too "Up With People", to the point of communicating insincerity. Many other guards use happy faces without this issue.
The deliberate off-key playing in the "Ode to Joy", which seems designed to convey the onset of deafness and madness, just sounds wrong. (I think a better way to design the deafness element would have been to just have a much slower fade into silent drill, but do it in tune. After all, Beethoven wasn't writing dissonance because he was deaf-- so they shouldn't play "Ode to Joy" dissonant.)
Last 40 seconds of show is over-written musically in a way that drains away emotion and doesn't leave the audience wanting more.

Madison Scouts "Primal Forces"
New urinals in remodeled Camp Randall stadium men's rooms:
Creative and effective use of skin capes in opener (though it may hurt their scores with some guard judges, because it covers movement).
Music arrangement and drill in opener reminiscent (in a very positive way) of "Ballet In Brass".
Best company front of the year in "Danza".
Strong drumline compared to peers.

Old horse trough urinals in old Camp Randall stadium men's rooms:
The new uniforms... a little too wedding catering staff for me.
When a staff designs a dark show like this one, they face a dilemma. At some point, judging criteria demand a shift in mood and style, so they have to lighten up. Madison's staff chose to do it writing classical ballet dance moves for the guard in the Ginastera. Not a favorite decision of mine. It's unintentionally comic in those guard outfits, more Mel Brooks "Men In Tights" ("We are men! Manly men!") than Mel Gibson "Braveheart", which was the intent. I can't take the guard seriously when they vocally grunt and go back to Primal mode in the Morricone or "Danza" after the Ginastera.

Boston Crusaders "Cathedrals of the Mind"
Gothic Cathedral
Flying start.
Rusty windmill sound effect (bowed cymbals, also heard in Phantom and Cavaliers-- it's funny how several corps get the same idea each year-- this year, it was windmill sounds... and use of purple... that are the hot trends).
Though not all judges agreed this week, I think the driving drumline propels the show. Guard also dances better than peers.
Quiet ending Goose Bump City.
Arches used to store guard equipment and keep all the clutter off the field.
Use of color, usually a Boston long suit for me.
Though judges did not reward accordingly, again, I thought they did their best show Saturday-- more intense, cleaner.

Drive-Thru Church
Most of their show music not memorable for me despite a dozen hearings this year.
Guard equipment work and hornline not as good as peers.
Arches inside a real cathedral increase one's perception of depth and height, but on a football field, ironically, Boston's arches compress height and depth and block the view of everyone not on the 50 yard line. OK, they block views in real cathedrals, too.

Blue Knights "Dark Knights"
Barber of Seville
I like this show very much, especially the opener and closer, where the darkness in the show design and effective performance blasts away the older legacy of being, don't say it, not again, boring and non-distinctive. I think darkness fits BK well if they want to home in on a style that gives them a distinct identity from one year to another.
They actually deliver the primal promise in Madison's show title.
Guard uniforms and equipment work.
Good strong opening move.
Spinning euphoniums.
Dark, edgy symphonic sound, well done and fits the show.
Rotating drill during pit feature.
Dynamic range and control.

Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Many in the audience don't connect with the Samuel Barber music, though I did.
The slow, sad minute of the middle section feels like it goes too long and was somewhat dry and dull, even I concede. Some dance movements seemed forced-emotive and lacked conviction.
Intermittent but recurring visual ensemble issues of interval and dress that were obvious even where I was sitting.

Carolina Crown ""
Outstanding and underscored hornline. Ran a clinic out there in tone and blend.
Visual design, at least from my poor low vantage point, looked gorgeous.
Opening drill and the peel-away hornline file during percussion feature.
Quiet ballad was serene and relaxing without being boring (hard to do).
Drill into and out of back left corner just before closer. Strong use of field generally.
Guard use of equipment.
Congrats to Drum Major Bob Beasley, who won the 2006 leadership award.

Musical book less demanding than corps which outscored them. (So what? I loved it.)
Dance design and guard dancing not as strong as equipment work.
Field drums not competitive.

Santa Clara Vanguard "Moto Perpetuo"
Green Feather:
En fuego on Friday, almost took fourth place then, and deservedly so.
Marching cymbals.
Better balanced than Crown, BK, Madison, and Boston, each of which has a relatively weak section or two. Consistent skill across the board is what broke them out of the 6-11th place pack they were in during July and moved them up to a 4th-6th pack by August.
One of the harder guard shows and drills, and demanding musical book, done well...
Mondo cool, quiet ending and spin off the field, an SCV trademark.
SCV had one of the best soundboard technicians, consistently blending amps into field sounds with a deft touch while others occasionally goofed on the high side or missed a cue.
The story behind the Moto Perpetuo horn guy... SCV classy.

Aging Out:
Musical book not at all memorable for me despite numerous hearings
Guard uniforms look unfinished. Did the color guard truck break down in Columbus?
Color design not a disaster, but weakest for me of 2006. (SCV's color design choices are often an issue for me.)

Bluecoats "connexus"
Rock Solid Connections:
Guard uniform, flag design, use of color best, I thought, in 2006.
Flying start.
Steel drums.
Very clean musically.
Flag work.
White stretchy ribbons that come and go and make you wonder how they did that.
Strong drumline compared to peers.
Saved their best show for Saturday.

Frayed Nerves:
Did not have a good show Friday-- emotionally flat. A few members were sloppy with white stretchy ribbons Friday, so now we know "how they did that".
Visual design not as striking or hard as SCV or creative as Cadets, I thought. Musical book seemed easier, too.
Dance work not as good as equipment work.

Cadets "Volume 2: Through The Looking Glass"
Funny "Rocky Picture Horror Show" moment with crowd interaction: most people know the audience tries to talk Dani out of going through the door. Later during the Tea Party, Alice says in a Valley Girl voice, "But.. where are we?!" A group of voices in the crowd answers, "In Madison!!" OK... so maybe it was funnier if you were there.

Fun show, superb creativity and energy.
Tea Party and percussion feature: not long ago on Sound Machine, I complained about the long stretch of no horn playing here, but now I wouldn't cut or change this highlight segment of the show. Great use of 3rd dimension by horns and guard with benches.
Backwards uniforms.
This guard can dance. And work equipment. I liked the guard better than the judges did.
Clean and controlled musical performance, horns and percussion...
Seamless transitions between show sections.
Alice (and all the characters).
"Sanvean" vocalist and soundboard technician mixing her with rest of corps saved their best performances probably of the year for Saturday. I'd still prefer it with just-hornline to vocals, but they maxed it out as designed. For anyone trying to reconcile my views of The Cadets with my views on Blue Stars, I felt this show is driven by performance, visual and musical, not by narration or vocals.

The Queen of Hearts:
The crowd responds well during most of the show, but the ending doesn't connect with the audience. There's a quiet, puzzled "What the...?" or overwhelmed, too-much-to-absorb reaction from the crowd most obvious when Dani comes back through the door at the very end.
Multitenors, when featured during the Tea Party, need more Cadets showmanship and flair, as they look bored, not cool.

Phantom Regiment "Faust"
The Saviour
Arguably the crowd's favorite show of 2006.
Gorgeous musical book, powerfully performed.
Killer drumline that deserved high caption, excellent hornline that could also have won.
Female guard quite good, pretty and flowing, male guard equally effective on the dark side.
Phantom took all season to convince me that "Ave Maria" was more than a "Fire of Eternal Glory" wannabe, but finally won me over in Madison. A classic in its own right.

I could be wrong,,, I may have misunderstood what I saw on the field (which would be another issue, anyway), or I may remember "Faust" outside of drum corps incorrectly... but I felt that Phantom "Disneyfied" the ending and screwed the concept, by making it a triumph of good (Faust) over evil (Mephistopheles). There are multiple versions of the legend of "Faust"; the Gounod opera one I'm familiar with has the death and resurrection of Faust's love interest, like Phantom, but does not have the triumph of good over evil. Far from dueling, Faust and Mephistopheles are partners and it is Faust and not Mephistopheles who loses in the end as the protagonist has tragically bargained away his eternal soul.
Corps in white especially in the dark section of the show early is a misfire, though black unis were financially impossible and wouldn't have worked for Phantom's closer the way they staged it with a relatively upbeat ending.
Drill design (except for one powerful minute late in show) not competitive with Cavies, BD, Cadets, or SCV, at least from low down, which admittedly may be an unfair criticism since I never saw it up high in the stands. But one criticism that would likely stand anyway, for me, even up high: the drill design covers and draws my eye away from the guard with a story to tell at key points unless I make a concerted effort to watch them.

Blue Devils "The Godfather Part Blue"
On Thursday and Friday, after saluting, the DM dropped his hat with a plop to the ground, and it landed in an upright position. On Saturday, it bounced and fell over on its side. I winced. It was like an Italian curse that foretold their doom (dropping to third after being no lower than second all season long).

Mama Corleone's Lasagna
Superb color guard, dance and equipment. They soften the show's visual hard edge. I preferred Cavies' CG, but I can guess that BD won this caption on the basis of range.
Drums and horns also quite good, though they didn't win.
The love theme juxtaposed with the doom theme, played by the three brass choirs, a musical and visual highlight of the show. (The soundtrack also employs this juxtaposition.)
Color design and blue visual accents-- even in the loudspeakers!
The guard hides the approaching surprise ending to great effect... a magic trick in the 1980s SCV style.

Sollozo's Tripe
Especially towards the end, show is too repetitive musically (which reflects the thin music score in the films) and too beat-and-blast at times-- the old BD saw about three dynamic levels: loud, louder, loudest... holds true here late in this relentlessly grim show. There is not enough dynamic control and mood variation there.
Whimsical touches such as Luca Brasi with dead fish flags and horse head flags, no doubt also designed to take edge off all the darkness, misfired with me. I didn't find them amusing, or chilling, just more grimness. A better way to change up the mood would have been to use the wedding reception dances from the first Godfather film, or the love ballad from the confirmation reception in Part III.

Cavaliers "MACHINE"
Smoothly Oiled Cogs
Visual performance gave them the margin they needed to hold on and win.
Extraordinarily creative and witty visual design, performed with art and grace.
They set the tone for the show, just in setting up. Best DM "corps is ready" salute of 2006.
Robocop guard uniforms, gestures, flag designs add a lot to show.
The robotic movements right out of the gate captivate the audience. The guard dares you to take your eyes off them, and rarely lose your attention.
The rubber bands. The rifle and horn passouts and putdowns. The stuck machine unjammed by a guard member. Half the guard spinning while lying down balanced on shins and hands of the other half the guard lying on the ground. New details you see and enjoy with each viewing.
Outstanding hornline.
Consistently excellent soundboard mixing.
The control. What a nice contrast to BD. This show could never be confused for beat-and-blast.

Sand in the Gears:
Too controlled on Thursday. They needed to find some fire in the belly (and Friday and Saturday, they did). I thought they were lucky to win Thursday.
Musical ending of show, with the machine slowly stopping, leaves audience flat. Seems like the ending was a design afterthought, where they couldn't think of anything better to do. I wish Cavies would learn to design a killer ending first, and work backwards from there to build up to it.
Low ordinals from drum judges all week kept BD and Phantom in the hunt and could easily have done in Cavies' championship hopes.

Favorite shows: Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, Cadets, Carolina Crown
I probably liked them more than you did: Blue Knights
You probably liked them more than I did: Blue Stars
2006 was my favorite show of theirs, ever: Capital Regiment, Blue Knights, Carolina Crown, maybe Cavaliers as well-- have to think about this one
Favorite Hornlines: Crown, Phantom, Cavaliers
Favorite Drumlines: Phantom, Cadets, Blue Devils
Favorite Colorguards: Cavaliers, Cadets, Phantom, Blue Devils
Favorite Visuals: Cavaliers, Cadets, Blue Devils, Crown.
Favorite Musical Books: Phantom, Cavaliers, Cadets
Best Use of Amplified Vocals: Capital Regiment
Best Use of Unamplified Vocals: Blue Stars
Best Use of Color in CG unis and equipment: Bluecoats
Favorite ending: SCV

/Resume Hut

Saturday August 5

Allentown, PA (DCI)

OK.... I think I know what happened. I have spell check through Google. I went through the long review editing grammar mistakes and forgot to click "stop" before I clicked Submit. Sometimes I can be very blonde!

In short as far as performances,

Cavaliers....liked the robotic theme throughout. Especially towards the end where the guard portrays a conveyor belt and moves a horn member down while he is playing. I wished I were in my original seat on the 50 up top to see drill, but thanks to DCI I was sitting very low and could not appreciate drill.

Blue Devils...I like this show much better than the previous two years. However I feel the guard award was a given. They were not on Saturday night too many drops and breaks in the rifle line. I do feel if this corps can add a little more horn visuals they will take the trophy home.

Phantom Regiment....I love their show, not as much as I loved last year but the hornline is to die for! They truly have a rich sound and a kick butt drumline to boot! The only thing that really bothered me was the Demon Posse rifle line. They were displaying good use of characterization but they also tossed the rifle for the sake of visual and forgot about technique when it comes to catching it. Right now I would say it is the guard that is holding this corps back.

Cadets....two words best describe this corps.....sensory overload! It's not as bad as what folks were saying. It's just there is too much going on at the same time. It's really hard to see where the focus is when the field is one level. Yes, they have platforms to help, but it's not enough with all the folks on the field doing different things. It was like watching a 3 ring circus but only worse. If you can focus on one thing, you will find that what they are doing is phenomenal. However I don't see this corps cracking the top 3 this year.

Bluecoats....this corps was paying attention when Crown was pushing the envelope with hornline visuals. They were trying to take it to the next level. However, they need to sub-divide if they want to use more choreography in their show. Very nice hornline sound! Not sure if they can catch Cadets again....time will tell.

SCV.....I like this show more than last years! The new uniforms work! The lone hornline member is a bit distracting. I understand the reason behind it and kudos for SCV's staff for letting him march, but I could kick my friend who pointed him out to me! Right now I would say the guard needs to clean up. This corps could be in the top 5 if they keep pushing aggressively like they did Saturday night.

Carolina Crown...I LOVE their guard! This guard IMO should have won Saturday night! I saw no other guards in the two nights I was there come close to the performance level that this guard has! They were on fire! The hornline has a very mature sound. You can tell that they are being trained under Van Doran. The corps marches very aggressively. My comment to my friend was "they remind me of Garfield in the early '80s." They are very innovative when it comes to hornline visuals!

Boston Crusaders...WOW, this show reminds me of their 2000 RED show with the guard in red. The move able arch things are very creative and useful for hiding guard equipment. I like the way they were utilized throughout the production especially the end when they turn them around revealing another color and push them together. Good year for Crusaders!

Madison Scouts....I like the uniform change in the hornline! Not crazy about the guard uni but it works! The only thing I could see why their guard scores aren't up to par is I feel they use the skins in the beginning too long. So many impact points are missed because they are wrapped up with their tiger skins. I think they need to keep the guy writing drill. I like the way he uses the entire field. Very energetic show....Very Madison!

Blue Knights....I honestly can't remember too much about their show except that I didn't like the flag designs. I had to start watching other sections of the corps.

Glassmen....the only thing I thought was distracting was their guard unis....but that's just me. Hornline nice sound!

Spirit.....Nice sound from the hornline! Guard to me started out on fire and then lost me through out. I think it was their choice of flag designs. The stripe one towards the end turned me off.

Colts....You can tell this corps wants into finals! They have a nice hornline sound with good things happening in the guard. They may surprise a few folks come next week.

Crossmen...I like this year's show much better than last year. Also the additional red sash in the uniform does help breakup the black. I just wished they would ditch that uniform and go back to the one they had in the early '90s! I feel like the battery is too far back behind the corps and they do not communicate well with the pit. I am not a drummer, so this is only my opinion. Also I feel like the pit parts are too thin. It's as if they were concentrating more on their mic presentation than filling in with music.

I love the ballad! The flags with the name of the city where each member is from was a nice touch! It was great to see my former students out their with our hometown on it!

I do feel they have been working hard but unfortunately I don't see them going past 13th. The transitions between songs really need work. I hope next year they do away with the mics and give Mark Thurston a call to work with that drumline! Right now, I would say they are the weakest section in the corps!

Reading Buccaneers.....WOW...they are great for a senior corps! I was really impressed by the guard's opener. However it looked like the ending was a work in progress. I also feel there is too much blue up top. Like a nice little white plume could be added. If I lived closer to them, I would march with them again in a heart beat!

Bridgemen Alumni Corps.....well, I loved Spanish Dreams, however I was very disappointed that they did not march as much as I was expecting. I guess with all the talk about topping the '94 Lancers, I was looking for more than what I saw. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to see them again, but if you are going to do it, THEN DO IT! The coats seemed shorter than what Bridgemen wore in the past. It made the members look over weight....which I know is the case, but accentuating it with yellow only made it worse. I would have kept the jackets longer and not as a golden yellow.


(continuation of Jeff's review from Friday at Allentown below)

Bucs....noticed some new stuff in there, and it needs to be cleaned up a bit. corps seemed a little flat...not used to daytime performances, and it shows. still, at least as good as lewisburg, tho i wanted a little more since it was 2 weeks later. any DCI fan that's into drumming had to love this drum book, and i detected more bassline notes in new places...very cool. guard is starting to really it's up to the horns. to date, of everyone I have seen in DCA, this is the cream of the crop, and i am dying to see this show at the end with everything falling into place.

PC: first time to see live...what presence! they look huge because of how they carry themselves, and, IMO, they march better than their numbers show. nice job with the City of Angles show. all the drum breaks to me looked like WGI ripoffs which wastiring after a while. i personally had them higher. a fun show i wouldnt get a hot dog in if i went to madison.

Seattle....i got the show without narration. in fact, narration was a distraction. it was every bad and poorly designed band show we've mocked. the fans arent dummies, and visually and musically, you tell what we need to get without the talking. I had PC over them with room.

Southwind...i get the idea visually and musically. however the same themse get played for like 8 minutes, then the ballad, then the other stuff. I heard the Holsinger mello lick less when cadets played the piece. lots of dirt..brass, perc, feet. in theory nice idea, but needed to be fleshed out more

Crossmen....pains me to say this but i liked the idea until a moment i'll get into. musically the corps seems to suffer from all the shifts of styles in 11 minutes. the "dj's" need to sound more like radio personalities....they sound too much like kids. also all vocals way too loud. Chez's influence on the sops shows. perc has a lot of dirt. the ending of the opener sounded like every Metheny ending in Crossmen past, which would be cool, but the corps doesnt have the horses to pull it off. traffic guy thing was cool. some ensemble phasing in the latin section....cant hear the college band thing over the announcer, but nice to hear PSU win...doubt that score will stay next week

Born to be Wild was a letdown. musically it needed so much more power and they didn't have it. the jam section was very square and Steppenwolf was far from square.'s where they lost me. THEY HAVE A ####### MELLO SOLO STARTING THE BALLAD AND YOU CANT HEAR THE KID PLAY BECAUSE OF NARRATION! Why???? i that kids has busted their ### all season to nail that solo, only to be covered up by someone trying to sound like Rick Dees. that's assinine. the shame of it is, the ballad is truly the flags...but the whole beginning is ruined by this stupid programming glitch.

the ending music doesnt fit at all.

a nice idea that ends poorly and has a solo ruined. IMO, this isn't finalist caliber. in fact, it could be as low as 16th.

Spirit: i was told the horn line was loud as ####. maybe, but not on this night. i wanted more SPIRIT, but it didnt happen. that said, i like the show. Ole Man River/Ole Black Magic stuff works well. pit was fabulous...well scored, perfect amp balance. the tune worked well, but the ending was flat. i liked the set up into the ballad, and the duet worked well. i did feel the ballad needed more oomph tho. transition out of ballad seemed a tad iffy and didnt settle in to the resolution. sops did a nice job in Mushroom hunter of catching the feel...and maybe I had Maidon 84 too much in my head, but i really wanted this hornline to throw down and they didn't. Blues started out really cool with a down and dirty bari solo and nice pit vamping. However when the full corps LOUDER! the transition into Blue shades seemd a little touchy but they recovered well. the arrangeent worked, but brokwn record here...needed more power. nice restatement of ole man river leading up to the ending

Madison: kinda odd build to the pit run in the opener, but the hit was nice. from there, eh, the song didnt do much for me til the big ensemble moment . rest f tune did nothing, tho they played well. really enjoyed the ballad. best drumline they have had since about 92. their version of the Danza finale left me eh. maybe if they found FFF it may work. Ending took too long to build to. uniforms are bland. show needs more Madison oomph...they sound like everyone else to be honest. they played well, and moved well and seemed to have a fire in their guts. but they bored me to tears and i cant remember a single thing about them other than the extended pit feature which was very good.. show lost me.

Crown...loved the opening build to the hit. finally a hornline with power. loved the drum groove in the 2nd tune. the cream and purple worked really well, and i liked the rotating circles to create that trance effect. if the drums had been purple it would have worked that much better. really nice ballad, very pretty. loved the closer as well. truly, one of the shows from the weekend i could watch and listen to over and over and over.

SCV...loved the in your face opening statement, but it needs more volume especially at the end. Visually i get the dont need a PHD to catch that, other than Mr. Moto, someone is always moving...example is the cymbals at the end of the opener. nice job with the jazz section, kids did a really great job feeling the peice, and it's one of my favorite arrangemnts by Key. now again, turn up the #### volume.very strong drum solo. loved the build to the end...very well done, faked the crowd out for the down ending which works incredibly well as they go backfield.

IMO, this is top 5 material.

Bluecoats...liked how the pit started and the corps followed before the salute. the backfield build to the turn and hit was well done, but needed more volume. marimbas were amped too loud. corps feels the jazz well, and had some nice upper sop work. dug the steel drums, and the drumline is fantastic...2nd best of the weekend. 4 basses? wow. missing one? the whole show just works. everything makes sense...i see what i hear. drill flows well. guard seems to be getting the shaft....maybe Hershman needs a blog that he can whine about numbers on. only thing i didnt like was the breathing...sounded like darth Vader

IMO, 4th place at finals.

BD: I'm a mob buff, and they delivered. all the touches with the chair and roses, the horse and fish flags...i hate narration and even I would have been pissed if they didnt do the "offer you cant refuse" line...tho the speaker needs to sound more like brando and not nicholson with a sore throat. loved the gunfire stuff from the snares in the opening. some nicely written drum stuff in between the WGi gimmicks, but it did have some dirt. when they did the big hit in the opener, good god, i wanted it loud...and i got maybe forte. that lick screams BD FFFF of old. best pit sound via amps of the weekend. at times tho, it did come across as the usual BD snippets of melody syndrome from the past few years, but nowhere as bad as the last few years. the jazzy section came across well, but again, needed more volume. did the love section with the overlapping themes from I and II. luckily, nothing from III made it in that I could tell

loved the ending, needed to be louder.

this corps moves well, and plays well. the stripe has to go. overall, a solid corps, but unless they clean some drum stuff and find an extra level of volume, this is 2nd place. they're close, but with more cleaning,Cavies will be tough

Welcome back My Friends, To The Show that we hope never ends...THE BRIDGEMEN!

it's been a long time since i saw those raincoats come up that hill. in fact, i was 18 the last time. god the goosebumps. i felt like a giddy HS kid. loved the whole guy running on the field and falling on the drum bit. nice to see the drum carried off on a stretcher

crowd totally fell for it at first too...they thought the guy really bit it. corps passing out at the salute was great. pure Bayonne.

Pagliacci opener was great...such power and what a sop line! did sound a bit harsh at one spot, but hey, they're old now. great transition into Land of Make Believe...and ####, i am playing off the albums...and yes, i do mean albums! guard was too much in the back, but it was pure Bayonne work, and they had a nice rifle line. crowd clapped along and the drums grooved well....and again, what a sop line. had the down and dirty hit into the sop duet which sounded as good as it did in 76.

My Fave Things...the Kerchner version thats been done by everyone...#### i played it in HS...but no one does it like Bayonne. this led to the drum solo...roto toms and all. yeah it had some dirt, but some of those licsk were pure 82 and 83 and worked well bringing back the hornline for the park and blow. (next year do Black Market please) song ended very strong and showed that these guys can still wail. oh...Summer of 42...oh pretty. oh so very pretty. 77 wasnt that pretty guys.

loved the brief snippet of "No bannanas". next year do the drum solo version. it was expected in the stone ( especially bottom bass). transition...classic. folks..they yelled transition, and ran to a new formation. so pure Bayonne.

then..In The Stone. full crowd clap along. full groove. 80/81 drum parts. i mean it was off the album good. great power in the extended hold at the end of the tune. crowd loved you, and so did i. anyone who got up and left cause "oh god an alumni so dont know what you missed.

then the corps came up on the track for William Tell whichagain was loud as #### and fun! corps then ran to the end zone and did an improv battle Hymn...only thing missing was a company front on their knees.

thank you so much Bridgemen for reminding fans of the past, doing it well, and being worth the price of admission entirely. yeah, i'm a homer for the yellow raincoats...have been since 1976...and i always will be. someday, maybe, if you and my lets me, i'd be honored to wear one of them for a show.

even wife never had the chance to see you live. Now, she gets Bayonne. and you made a new fan forever.

will i go back? I dunno. if Cadets and Xmen are the future of DCI, no. there was some really good stuff out there. a lot of corps need to learn to blend and balance their pits better. every show that had narration, IMO, was worse because of it. and JBC sucks as a facility anymore.


Friday August 4

Allentown, PA (DCI)

yeah yeah call me a hypocrite you amp lovers ...i went to Allentown. My former band program, all 37 kids of them had 2 kids on the field Friday and a good friend who i promised on Saturday night.

i saw some things i liked, some i didn't. i wont pull punches, but i wont be blatantly insulting. having not been to a DCI event in 2 years, i noticed some changed that weren't apparent on the dvd's.

one was nobody was loud except for amped keyboards. Crown and Bayonne had the 2 loudest hornlines of the night. is everyone too afraid to let loose, or is safe the new way to go? seems like everyone had the dynamics levels (or lack of) that Cavies 02 had.

next....why does every drum feature look like WGI's greatest gimmicks? you start with one snare playing really closed rolls, then a pod of 2, then builds to the whole line...yada yada. i mean 70 of the lines did this, and 85% of those everytime they did this gimmick had dirt in the trasnitions adding in the players. Hop was right...there is stifled creativity. time for new creators.

if you have a sound guy, and you arent on the phone or walkie talkie with someone upstairs, what is the point of trying to adjust from 5 yards away. you arent getting the true picture there. and for you sound guys on the phone, some of you need new people up top, cause the mix was still bad.

3rd...I Love JBC for it's history. but it's traffic flow is worse since the redesign, with the city being a pain in the ### about parking, and the upper deck's time to go. UPenn isnt that anser, parkings worse. Linc may be an answer, but the Iggles dont give that away for free, and prices will be Bostonian.

you want to fix the upper deck? easy. rip the whole existing thing out. rip the hill out and make it all concrete..larger walkway, and put a new concrete structure in for the upper deck...add some concession space undeneath or at least bathrooms to alleivate congestion. the traffic flow is worse than ever since the rebuild.

onto the corps:

Jubal..due to extremely slow lines getting water, i missed you. you sounded good from the side tho.

Pioneer. nice show, tho lots of dirt. feet out of time at this time of the year is inexcusable. snares dominating the sound. really, a lot of dirt. not written over their heads either. D2 may be an option to explore til you can get bodies to balance it out

Esperanza: corps carries themselves well, but the show just never went anywhere. it seems the design has moments that are built in, so either the corps isnt hitting them, or the staff is telling them to hold back.

Magic: i liked this show! drumline has come a long way from horror stories i had heard about( nice job Murph). brass has dirt. liked the groove in Pie Jesu. i have read many say the show is over written, and except for the percussion that's true. i think it's a good place to build on, and keeping Murph and DA around will help...they know corps. loved all the purple. Murph thanks for getting "the lick" in there at the end! to me was an indoor drumline show with brass playing once in a while. drumline got the groove stuff down, but the brass didn't feel it. IMo, showed mosly bored me.

Cap Reg. a well written showwith design issues everywhere. i totally got the themes you wanted portrayed, and you didnt need to speak it which was better. if they had performance levels up to design levels, this is a finalist hunting show. ####, if they can clean a lot this week, they could really ruin Xmen's season.

Blue Stars: welcome back to D1!!! Rachael dear....sorry i didnt get to see you. you looked great out there! i liked this show except for the narration. too loud, and covered up some wonderful backfield playing. in fact in the opening, as the corps got louder, so did the narrator, which, IMo was a shame. pit too loud too. i do like the music build up in the bgeinning, but the reading of the Constituion ruined it. strong brass sound at the hit. a very pretty ballad, minus the speaking...very touching and moving. excellent use of the red white and blue, and it worked against the guards pastel uniforms.

build up to the closer again ruined by narration. however the show finishes very strong. quite honestly,, you take the narration out of this show, clean up the drumline, and you have a corps that should be beating Colts and maybe nipping at Spirit's heels.

Colts: I liked the colors playing off each other with the guard to the corps, but other than As Time Goes Bye...a well done ballad...nothing sticks out. this show seems like it had great intentions, but they aren't being realized. I can't see this show in finals.

Glassmen: i am biased...i have a former student in their pit ( nice touch bringing Excalibur out Mike). nice strong opening for the most famous of all beethoven licks. some nice humorous touches thrown in which the crowd liked. brass had a nice sound and the volume here was well done. i was expecting a safer sound given the material, but they let me have it. best percussion since probably 99. very well scored in the pit...didnt overpower me with their mixing. ballad very well done, and the impact came across really well. liked the waltz like section. strong start to the 9th portion of the show. in fact, the whole section worked well.

IMO, this show should be scoring higher. well written, and performance, IMO is higher than the numbers indicate.

Boston: some amp balance issues but another show I liked. my only issue is at the end...the cathedral windows are out on the 50, and then just sit there forever and they seem to do nothing but seperate the corps from itself. I fully expected more visual interplay with them. whole intro section worked well, but needed more volume. percussion scored very well, and performance was extremely well done in spots. ballad was ok, but it left me wanting more. drum break coming out of it was very cool and played well....and i dug the Conquest hits, but the crowd today if they havent seen em, dont expect em, and dont give you that Conqyest reaction we';re used to. I miss that. loved the solo sop playing the Conquest melody...verycool, but again, crowd doesnt seem to get Allentown of all places.

I remember the crowd doing practice Conquest reps as the corps came on the field for god's sake! ending was nice, but like i said before...the field was too split by the props, and one wasnt sure where to look. did catch some little conquest moments as the corps faded out which was nice.

Cadets: wow. just wow. and not a good wow. there is so much fouce on the characters and props and amps popping youforget at times a corps is out there. last years show was unpopular to many, but the corps was ###### good. this year, performance seems to take 2nd place to the crap. i know the story line, but the music to me didnt convey Alice in Wonderland. pit was amped way too loud. lots of amp popping...has to be the wireless mics. schoolgirls in the beginning staged poorly...can barely see them as they run to the door. opening narrator not as loud as she should be. and...i cant believe this...i saw people out of step a week before finals!!! i did lick the sop lick at the end of the opener...that was cool. actually got some volume before it faded out.

drumline section is well done musically. talking over the pit groove sucks...cant hear the pit...basses very well done...pit also plays well....then..well, it seems like )) again with all the tradeoffs, or a WGI show from recent years. split rool and toss is cool. tenors also did well. however as the full line comes back into ram...people are jumping off of tables?? WTF? it's a drum solo by one of the best lines in the world and people are jumping off of tables.....hello...pick something to focus on?? tell me how the jumping helps the visual package?

great ballad....except for her. she's too loud, and drowns out the hornline which is playing some really nice stuff. at the push she drowned em out. too much. didnt like the percussion transition out of it...needed more space to let the ballad truly die out. did like the closer musially, but the mirror image gimmick needs cleaned...the girl in the bix seemed to go at it at half speed...timing was clearly off to her and Alice. IF the timing is cleaned, it's a nice gimmick. however the school girl looked like she was going thru the motions.

this week, they need to clean the performance aspects. that's what;'s killing them. oh, and they need to learn how to amp. seeing George yell at the sound guy on track isn't pretty. this show, IMO is 6th place, and IMO, has Crown nipping at it's heels. overwritten. too much #### focused on, not enough on performing. and, costuming...please....not every costume is for everyone. why you'd put a kid in the position to be mocked like we've seen all summer is disgusting.

and...the crowd did not throw babies at this show. i was expecting, being in Allentown, a roar of 27th alumni proportions...not even close. my life, i thought i'd never see Phantom contend for drums. folks, IMO, it's theirs to lose. Opening statement to me is jarring as it should be, but needs more volume. all those contras and I didnt feel them once. Scythian was well done, and a nice update from 84. very well integrated musically to visually, and they max out the impacts well, tho more volume could make it better. sop run was very clean. scary clean. loved the mello moment leading up to the ending, but the ending felt a touch flat. very nice warm low sound in the beginning of the ballad. Faust storyline very easy to get even if you dont know it by heart. the build to the hit was smooth and needs more volume, to max out the impact. well designed, just a tad safe sounding.

drum break was so crystal clean...what ensemble demand front to back. brass re-entry worked and lined up well with the percussion. the push to the finales was pure Phantom low brass sound, and the big push at the end was as Phantom as it gets...which then led to pure Phantom visual moments...the leg kick halt....the spin, the wedge you name it.

this show right now is solid 3rd, but it has 96 upset potential.they arent that far behind, and judging this year is unpredictable. i rule nothing out.

Cavies.....go Jesse Young, my other former student and only rookie to get weapons time. kick ### robotic salute. folks this show is it. the attention to detail and visually bringing the machine stuff to life is done scary well. evern percussively they do a great job making it happen and creating sounds. granted brass hit at the beginning needs more power, but the perc scoring is great. line was dumped early, but that old Cassella magic is catching on. corps marches unline no other...i mean form readability is scary good. loved the whole machine thing at the beginning of the next have to see it to truly appreciate it...the pit scoring here works so well with the visual. the 'jazzy" section works, as the corps has good feel. yeah new pit staff, but the scoring is good...only somplaint is metallics were amped a bit to high. loved the "stuck" section with the sops. loved the screamers with the bass run underneath.

ballad was pure cavies...pit scoring reminded me of the past. hit could use more voulme, but then again, every cavies show since 02 could. perc break starts out the next tune with a cool groove and nice use of the woods. the perc break is close..backsticking, singles...ballsy drumming. IMO if Cavies clean the line up, this show is theirs to lose. the whole closer was just phenomonal, tho i think the ending needs more vlume to truly max it out.

seriously...i have been very critical of this corps since 2002. this show blows them all away. music to visual, all the gimmicks work....clearly, their best show ever. this show has true 99 potential. barring a miraculous rise by another corps, they peak, or fall apart, green wins again.


Thursday August 3

East Rutherford, NJ (DCI)

Thoughts on the Meadowlands

I used to follow DCI a lot more then I have been able to do in the last two years. Between '92 and '01 I attended around 7-10 shows a year and went to Allentown each and every year, and went to 5 championship weekends. Tonight at Giants Stadium was my first and only show this season, here are my thoughts.

Fair showing, I used to love your shows, even some of the ones when you were under the YEA umbrella. Not the greatest show and please, I loved The Cadets 2000 show. One of my all-time favorites. Don't rip it off.

Cool show. Love the untraditional choice of source. If the Crossmen keep putting out shows like this one (see below) and you keep doing shows like this, you'll be in the Top 12 in no time.

Very good show. Love the white uniforms w/ the purple plumes. Very Star of Indiana, very tight and solid show. I haven't seen any show but tonight's, but I'd hope you get in the Top 8, at the least the Top 12 in Madison.

Interesting concept, but IDK. No thrilling Madison moments, very weird how you play to the far corners of the field, it's hard to see over there, and no one's sitting there FYI. The whole "King of the Jungle-Lord of the Flies-Tarzan-Lost-esque" theme isn't really achieved. Love the opening with the guard in the tiger swatches, but when they start to jump around it's more Tony the Tiger, then ferocious tiger.

Amazing. Wasn't sure I'd get into the whole men as machine theme but the crowd-surfing parts and the bouncing back of the box is amazing. I usually don't like Cavie shows, but I liked this one.

My high school band called.... they want their concept back for next years marching band. Well done, but amateurish concept of a show. Radio dials? What is this 1984, who uses radio dials? "My Humps" = Cheesy and also like a little bit last summer. Spoken parts went on WAY to long. The amps are there for you to amplify faint sound, not voices, didn't we learn this last year... YOWZA YOWZA YOWZA? You're better then this. What radio station plays Pat Methany? The Spanish section should be expanded on, it flies by and could have been better. Also it was educational to know how much of your guard is from the sticks. What in the hell is from Boylestown, PA other then your cute guard member?

IDK Where to start. Loved last years show. Original, imaginative, interesting, engrossing. This was just weird.

First off, stop sending me letters for money; if you're gonna spend it on backdrops that add nothing to the show. Even the American West backdrops served more of a purpose. Second, stop re-creating or continuing things. Didn't we learn this with My Favorite Things, or West Side Story 2... ...Your show last year was great, don't expand upon it. Keep re-inventing, not re-doing. Third, who the hell is the moaning woman? What is she moaning? Why can't her moaning fit with the music instead of her wailing underneath and then on top of the music? It was clearly the longest and first orgasm I've ever seen in a DCI show. I was praying the lion with the pogo stick from the Scouts would come and kill her. Fourth, when did the Cadets or any corps get a star of a show? The entire show seems built around one person (the blonde) and it was sort of odd. Whereas last year there were different segments and different women coming out of the door, this was all about the blond. I am struggling to recall a DCI show that was so entirely centered around one person. Imagine my shock and awe to realize who the blonde was...While she was a very talented gymnast, it was a little too Tori Spelling for my tastes. Cadets, you're better than this. And BTW I love the Cadets and am not one of the people who lives for attacking them.

Why is YEA booking Giants Stadium, when they can barely fill it. It was empty tonight. Why are all the high school bands they called out in NJ? Aren't there marching bands on LI, upstate NY, and Connecticut? Why is there a need for such a massive intermission when there is only 6 or 7 corps? Some of us who are not on our way to Allentown have to work tomorrow...


Here are my comments on last night's show at Giant Stadium:

1. THE MAGIC: The hornline sounded good and the drumline was playing some good licks. But Magic has definitely lost some of it's competitive sound and edge from the past years. Solid show but nothing out of the ordinary. And it was funny hearing music that the Cadets played in 2000 being played but with very watered down arrangements. But still a good show.

2. ESPERANZA: This is my first time ever seeing this corps and my general impressions were that they played and marched decently enough. Drumline was not nearly as good as Magic's though but the hornline was okay.

3. CAROLINA CROWN: Wow! I knew they were making their way up but I was really blown away. The first real full corps sound of the night! Great hornline sound, strong percussion and colorguard. Great use of body movements throughout the show, no wasted moments in the show. I like the restatement of the music at the end of the show that was used in the opener. Works well. Just a great show and the purple plumes did look great with the off-white uniforms.

4. MADISON SCOUTS: Man, I wish these guys would get good again. They are working hard but playing after Crown really showed how less creative their show design is. I mean their hornline sounded good and percussion was strong enough, but the storyline with the colorguard and the music didn't seem to match all that well. Good marching overall but nothing to write home about.

5. CAVALIERS: I was so looking forward to seeing this show live after hearing about it and seeing video clips online. And I was just amazed at the show design and execution! What a perfect show concept for this all male corps. From the time they set foot on the field until they marched off the field the whole corps was in that machine/robot character. The hornline was not the loudest but had the most control and the best tone quality. And the piccolo trumpet duet was so neat. The drumline although not the flashiest or the most talented was very strong. The colorguard was unbelievable in terms of performance and even with the humorous actions they did. Great flag colors too, very memorable. The crowd surfing of the guard and then the brass players at the end was just great! This show has everything you want: great music, performance, visuals, serious themes as well as some comedic moments. There's your DCI champion for 2006!

6. THE CROSSMEN: Too bad they were on after the Cavies because they looked so mediocre compared to them. It seemed the hornline took until the middle of the show to really open up and play well. I always feel bad for the Crossmen because it seems that they are the much lesser, much smaller little brother to the Cadets and it showed tonight. I think the best part of the show was when they played and sang a snippet from the hip-hop song, "My Humps". But their marching is dirty and the color guard is okay. The drums are also just decent and not on a higher level of performance.

7. THE CADETS: I love the Cadets year after year and their 2005 show was where they needed to be after a few years of doing what everyone else was doing--familiar tunes only and a rah-rah section in the middle of every show. The Cadets are usually at their best when they are doing radical stuff. It's always hard to do a sequel and the Cadets have definitely had a tough season trying to make this one live up to last year's championship production. The brass sounded clean and had a great sound and the drums were playing some great licks once again. And the colorguard seemed to have a good night. Very original use of those pink benches with the jumping off of and standing on throughout the second half of the show. But I didn't feel the energy that usually comes from a great show. It seemed the corps was tired and maybe they were after doing an all day clinic with high school bands. Plus I do agree with another review that the whole corps is carrying alot of stuff onto the field each night and it may be taking a toll on them. It seemed the home crowd wanted the Cadets to blow them away, but the energy never seemed to come from the corps to reach the audience. And in the opener I saw at least two horn players step off too early as if they were too anxious. The singing in the ballad was nice except for one sustained note that I've heard on numerous video clips previously that really needs to resolve up or down in the chord since right now it seems to clash harmonically with what the hornline is doing. It was a good performance, but not great by Cadet standards. I hope they get more energy for Allentown tonight and especially for championship week.

TO SUM UP: All in all a good show to attend. Although the stadium did feel a bit empty. The highlights were definitely the great show from the Cavaliers and the Carolina Crown's surprise of a powerful show. I wanted the Cadets to wow me but it left me somewhat flat tonight. Hopefully some refocusing and passionate performances this coming championship week can fix that by Finals night to move up the ranks a bit. We'll see...

Serving the King,
Pastor Love Saquingn

Let me start by saying that I've never written a review before and I'm sure I will upset some people with my opinions. I get the whole thing about how everyone works hard, but these are my honest opinions based solely on what I saw last night. Keep in mind that they are only my opinions and you are ALLOWED to disagree with them. This was my first show all year so first reads on everyone. For most of the show, I was sitting on the 45 year line in the mid level- Pretty good seats.

Magic- Very disappointed with the show design. They split the hornline A LOT and although it balances the field visually, it detracts from the ensemble sound quality and doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense from an effect standpoint. Jesu seemed VERY forced rhythmically- almost "square." I'm not suggesting it should be swung, but there should be some kind of "lilt" to it. It was very mechanical. The brass sound was very top heavy- way over balanced toward upper brass. I lost a lot of the baris and contras/tubas. Percussively, I was very disappointed. I thought the front ensemble scoring seemed very unison and even then they had trouble projecting. I saw speakers, so I assume they used mics, but balance was waaaaay off. Battery seemed busy, but really overplayed the brass.

Esperanza- I've never seen this corps before- EVER. They impressed me and I actually thought they would beat the Magic. I didn't recognize any of their music, but their show design flowed better. Nothing stood out as being excellent in my mind, it just seemed to work better. Drill flowed and visually I saw the things I heard. Pit projection was very poor. Color guard was well integrated into the total package but not as clean as one might expect a week before championships. Hornline blended better than Magic's but not as technically proficient. I thought they beat Magic. Only the GE Visual judge agreed with me tho, so what do I know?

Carolina Crown- First real moments of excitement came with this corps. This hornline is a treat! Balance, blend, tone quality, clarity of articulation, these guys are STRONG. I disagree with them losing brass to Madison, and I'm a Madison alum. Lots of lower body visuals in the hornline add to the overall effect of this show. Not the most demanding drill of the night, but absolutely one of the most effective visual programs out there. I absolutely agree with them beating Cadets in GE Visual and Ensemble Visual. Drumline was well coordinated but I could hear errors as high up as I was sitting. Pit blend was a problem as the vibes were way too loud comparatively speaking.

Madison Scouts- As an alumnus of this corps, I can honestly say I haven't liked this corps performances for the past several years. That changed last night. Although different from past versions of the Scouts, these boys can play! IMHO, this was the most difficult drill of the night. Unfortunately, they can't come close to performing it. Yeah, they make it to most of the dots on the page, but at what cost to the performer. Both upper body and lower body technique suffer as they try to run from here to there and back in 2 counts. It just doesn't make sense to me when Crown's drill was soooo much easier, yet more effective. Seems to me they could get more effect by doing "less" better. The percussion ensemble was not nearly as bad as I had heard they would be. The pit plays well and is well integrated into the program. The brass arranger has left lots of space for the pit to sing through. The battery is reasonable in their supportive roll, but still a bit dirty for August. I like the tom feature that fades away into nothingness! Color guard is not always staged in what would seem to be the "right" places. I like the uniforms, but some sloppy equipment work detracts for me. Didn't think Crossmen's guard would beat them tho.

Cavaliers- At this point in the show, I went to sit with some friends on the lower level so my vantage point for Cavies and Crossmen is different. I was not as impressed with the Cavaliers as I expected to be. All my friends who sat up high, were really blown away with the visual program. At field level, I was not. Performance ? Absolutely. Design? Not so sure. Seemed like lots of movement for movement's sake, but that's not really a fair assessment considering where I was sitting. The most disappointing thing for me about this corps was the pit. I am a "pit guy" and I tend to focus on that. Erik Johnson was a MASTER at front ensemble arranging. Last year, the Cavaliers did more with pit cymbals then most corps did with keyboards. This year, Jim Ancona took over. I knew it would be different, but since I liked what Jim had done with the Vanguard, I thought that different could be just as good. I WAS WRONG! The players are strong! The book is not! There was nothing that stood out to me as being tremendous from anything in the percussion section- battery or pit. They are just kinda there. The whole program struck me as a potentially nice visual package, with some kind of musical accompaniment. Clearly this corps is visual heavy. I've not seen the other top three or four corps, but I don't think the fat lady has sung on this one yet!

Crossmen- I had heard really bad things about this team. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had been set up to believe. Conceptually, I think its very "high school band-ish" but it IS entertaining. I don't believe in using mics for vocals, but they do work here. It was cool to see one of my former students beating on his chest while doing the "weather report" from a "chopper." I liked the ending flags with everyone's hometown. Nice touch! Performance-wise, this corps is "all over the road" (pun intended). Spacing issues in the drill. Sloppy brass playing- watch trumpet articulations and phrase endings. Battery wasn't anywhere near the level of the corps that beat them. I was surprised they only had three tom players. I really liked the red sequins across the front of the uniform. Its a shame this show probably won't make finals since it was one of the more entertaining shows of the night. After the Crossmen, I returned to my original seat.

Cadets- OMG I hated this show! I know many people like it and I know these kids are working hard, but I just didn't care for it. Last year, I hated it but I gave them credit because at the end of the season, they WERE the best corps. This year, I actually hate it more than I did LAST year. I never would have thought that was possible. I don't like the concept, I don't like the uniforms, I don't like the singer, I don't like the pink tables, I don't like the drill, I don't like the music. Gee, I sound very negative. Yeah, there were positives. The drumline plays REALLY well. The entire corps is very expressive musically. The guard is strong as well. They portray character well and they are quite clean. Although I don't like this show at all, I would never count out the Cadets, they are always the one team that can clean the crap outta the show the last few days and sneak up on some people.

All in all, a good night of drum corps. Can't wait till Madison. Speaking of Madison, I am playing in the Madison Scouts Alumni Reunion Project Corps. We've been working a long time to put together an amazing couple of performances for next week. If you're in Madison next week, do not miss us.

Sorry if I've offended anyone. As I said before, these are just my opinions and you're allowed to disagree.


My seats were on the fifty, twenty rows up. Visuals are not as good there, but music much better in that spot.

DCI ( IMHO ) is being driven by Visuals, and that is where the non top ecehelon corps were hurting: interval, hitting forms, spacing etc they were struggling with, horns, battery, color guard, pit they all did a fine job.

Magic, Esperanza and Crossmen put on great shows. They all appear very young, but unfortunately ( IMHO ) when they mature my bet is these players end up with one of the upper ecehelon corps.

Crown is without a doubt my favorite corps, their guard should be over Cadets ( IMHO ) ( more demand and they are always doing guard things ). The brass sound is just too beautiful, but they need to recruit a trumpet screamer and also please feature the battery at some point. I loved the purple plumes, and the retro paint job on the battery. The visual here is really elegant, the crowd in Jersey loves Carolina!

Madison ( IMHO ) should be scoring higher, nice program, great horns, I thought drums were not bad, and for performing a Rosander drill I thought they were relatively clean. Kudos from me for having the most non-blamp musical ending of the night. Design wise when the drums are laying down a wicked hit opposite side is intense drill stuff going on, which do you watch? Also they had an arch which extended five yards over the sideline into the pit area, is that legal? Finally, I prefer the uniforms of the last few years to their new version.

The Cadets - I liked the show, but not as much as last years. What got me last year was the ballad, the ballad this year ( IMHO ) was haunting soundwise, but not memorable: the brass book is thin to expose the singer, and the vocal seems thin not to overpower the brass. The singer reminds me of a DCA pit soloist, comes out and grabs your attention, and then tries to hide in the pit, until she comes out to sing ( carrying a suitcase?).A trio of mellophones could have played the vocal part with the same timbre and effect ( IMHO ). Cadets also have the battery putting down a wicked hit, while opposite field are tables, flying corpsmembers and etc ( where do you look? ) My wife and her mother run a children's reading program, and she drove me crazy with " what the heck is going on " questions! I think this route they are taking is fine, but needs to be a little less complicated. All I will say otherwise is I am not a fan of props in DrumCorps.

The Cavaliers - I really love this show, the concept and execution is great, but this show winning in Madison is not a slam dunk. I never thought I would say this ( I am a low brass guy ) the colorguard is the strength of this show- these guys are absolutely unbelievable! There was too me an uncanny moment: one of the trumpets dropped his mute on the ground- a tuba was backpedalling toward it and kicked it another five yards ( he did not see it ) - but a judge did and hurled it into the pit ( injury and trainwreck avoided )

Meadowlands is a great place to view a show, and YEA does a very professional and fan friendly job here:
The annual pre-contest rain made it's appearance and even lasted through Magic's show!


Wednesday August 2

Bensalem, PA (DCI)

Ok, so I went to the Drum Corps Show at Bensalem High School last night. It was perhaps one of the hottest nights of the summer so you really gotta give it to the kids for performing through it.

Here is my review of the shows. Please note that I am more of a color guard/visual person and I don't claim to have a degree in music so please don't expect many music comments. Also, I don't believe in bashing so I will focus mainly on the positive aspects of everyone's show.

Jersey Surf: A VERY large horn line and an equally impressive sized color guard (32) made for great impacts from the very beginning. I do wish that the drill gave me more as I kept feeling that these kids for their size and talent could pull off so much more. This is a corps that I would like to see starting to push the envelope in the next couple of years. The Color Guard was fairly strong but the weapons need some work and the flags were not as together as I am sure they will eventually be by the end of the season. I'll blame it on sweaty palms as no glove wearing was evident and it was indeed a steamy, sweaty night. Props to the guard for all pulling off a tricky single handed forty five toss out of the left hand while in a huge block on side 1.

Pioneer: It was enjoyable but did not make me jump out of my seat.

The Magic: Ok, so I have not seen this show since the first Allentown show. I enjoy the changes in the show particularly the addition of different members of the color guard wearing a different color as they are showcased through out the show. I still don't get the "awareness ribbons" or maybe I do. Did I miss the boat on this one?

Crossmen: much much MUCH improved since last I saw them. I'm not sure why they are not doing better. I have seen corps make it into finals that aren't as good as Crossmen are this year. Their drill has cleaned up a lot and the color guard is now impressive to watch now that things have come together more clearly. I appreciated the parade block across the field during "On Wisconsin".

Blue Knights: This is perhaps one of my favorite BK shows in recent years. I enjoy the color guard's creative and aggressive movement as well as the hornline's "dancing" that really helps sell this show. Who's the girl who is the star of the show? She can really move. I'd still like to see more of the guard move as strong as she does but you have to work with what you have. A nice bamboo flag statement ended this intense show.

Santa Clara Vanguard: The cleanest show of the night! I recall a recent post from a gentlemen who attended the regional in Atlanta and stated that SCV no longer has that :"aura" about them. Well, he must have had a bad seat in a chair that faced backwards because he is out of is EF-ing mind! This show never let up! I was at the edge of my seat always wanting more! The color guard was the strongest of the night (as evident by their 1st place finish) and their saber line through the cleanest six of the night. This color guard was not affected by the weather as they were the only group to keep their equipment in their hands and displayed great amounts of training. Perhaps having a World Class Winter Guard was the best investment SCV has ever made. Look for this color guard to climb to the top 3 in the next couple of years. The staging was incredibly strong. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about an SCV show with out Myron Rosander drill. I think that their new guy is doing a great job and being as young as he is he is in a really great place to grow and become a top drill designer very VERY soon!

Blue Coats: This was my favorite show of the night. I'm not sure why they are not ranked top 3 right now when I know what show is currently ranked third. If they do not get a medal it will be a travesty! The staging was very nice and the color guard is the strongest I have ever seen this corps pull off. The only problem was that the opener was VERY good and the closer was EVEN BETTER but the in between was just sort of there. Oh yeah! And why is the color guard spinning SCV's Elasti-Flags from their Sound, Shape and Color production of 2002. hmmmmmmmm.....................

The Cadets: The changes are evident and they have cleaned up a little bit since the first Allentown show. I just don't see why this corps isn't currently ranked 7th or 8th. SCV and Crown should both be ahead of this corps. I'm really sorry, but this is definitely not a year for The Cadets....especially when the groups right under them are giving us fresh, edge of your seat productions that leave you wanting more. I'm not saying I have an issue with the characters and the props and all of that because I strongly feel that that is not the problem. But take away the props, don't JUST watch Alice and her entourage the entire time and you've got nothing but a decent horn line, a dirty flag line, a weapon line that doesn't like to catch that much and a drum stick throw at the end of a drum solo. Oh yeah, and The Tea Party in Lewis Carroll's novel took place in the book Alice in Wonderland NOT Through the Looking Glass. Please do your research first.


Attended the Bensalem show in Pa, last night...To all the corps members that marched in the 100 degree show..KUDOS...I could't believe you guys marched in full uniform...I think the entire crowd would of been happy just to see you march in shorts and t-shirts...IT WAS HOT...

Review of a few of the corps...Lets go with TOP 3.

Blue------------Blue Coats....What a drum line man. Blue Coats really expose their drummers this year and they do acrobatics as they perform...Whether it is playing on 1 foot while their other leg is up in the air, or the drum line squatting to go with the dynamics of the music, or the incredible bass drum runs, their drum line steals the show. Horn line is good with screaching soloists..The horn line also comes up close to the front (2-3 times in a 50 yard line arc) where they can park and blow, and the crowd ate it up. Their marching in my estimation was not as effective and clean as SCV, but Drum line awed the crowd.

SCV - SCV - SCV....What a drill, and color guard support. The new drill writer for SCV is going to make him/her mark someday. Pretty inovative moves, make for an interesting drill design package. Crisp pivots, Crisp rotations, Crisp everything visually can take this corps to one of the top Marching corps of the year. A few transitions of the brass charts seem alittle long at times, and Brass impacts are not written to Wow the crowds, but you will be impressed...Drum line is on its way back up, and doing the Drill they have to do, and execute..they are doing great...SCV's Drum Line drill is the most exposed i have seen. They should get more credit there, for exposure in the Drum line..PS -.What is that guy doing walking around the field the entire show? I know motion..But everyone in the crowd kept talking and pointing it out...Keep closing the gap guys!

Cadets - These guys looked tired...Moving all that equipment..Everyone had to carry something. I always loved the look of the Cadets when they came onto the field in their block formation and you knew they were ready to kick your butt. This years Cadets - seem to be trying to hard. They have everything, i mean everything out on the field. Yes, you always compare Corps to the previous year..Well, i feel that this year's show has more to offer. The mixed tempos with two drum majors on the podium at the same time, for 2-3 times during the show is not an easy gig. Besides, playing and running at 190 in parts of the show, we are now also going to have you carry tables around the field in 100 degree weather. These guys are in SHAPE. Cadets at times are top notch and standing ovation type, and a few other transitions are not quite making the punch yet for top corps. Cadets- You are always worth the price on is that hot blonde chick as Alice? wow...

Crossmen - first time i got to see them...Radio Stations throughout...The ideas are pleasing to watch..Everyone gets a kick out of the Spanish Radio stations when the corps plays some Spanish jazz..The football game station is fun to watch as the band marches by. The corps has some fine players - but still have a few individuals that stick out...Keep the faith guys...Crossmen will peak at the right time...


Saturday July 29

Atlanta, GA (DCI)

First time a show indoors has been delayed due to thunder and rain! Crown was on the field ready to go when the rain on the roof and the thunder overhead were too much to compete against. A few minutes after Crown left the field to go relax, a drainage pipe leading from the roof cracked and started flooding section 324 upstairs. It was rather comical. Anyway, the show was delayed 40 minutes, hence the really late finish.

My seats were on the 40, about halfway up the bottom section, so I didn't see the "big picture" on drill unless they showed the high camera on the replay screens.

Seattle - missed it
Esperanza - missed it

Good show, liked the purple uniforms. Nice sound for a smaller corps.

The split uniforms were cool. The different melodies at once were done well. Overall, a good show concept and well executed.

Good, but not very memorable.

Blue Stars
I thought for a moment it was 1978 again! Good performance and a step up from the groups before them.

Capital Regiment
My favorite show of the afternoon! The business suits on the guard were fantastic! The frisbee toss across the corps with a perfect catch at the end... crowd loved it. They really got the crowd going and loving this show.

Hated this show. The concept was horrible. The "news radio" chatter once was bad, twice was annoying, and after that it was pissing me off! This show did absolutely nothing for me.

Great sound, solid performance. Guard looked very good.

All these groups sounded good and the shows were generally okay. The drill was pretty messy though.

Spirit of JSU
Upper voices were drowning out the low brass. The treatment of Old Man River was good, but the whole show was too choppy and disjointed. The music never gave you a chance to grab hold and get in it.

Loved this show! Beethoven rocks! If they change the ending to add a bigger finish, this show will kick ass at finals!

Blue Knights
Very clean, very well executed. Their feature dancer is awesome, but the music is... uninspiring. Everyone around me felt the music did absolutely nothing for them.

Boston Crusaders
The arches were a little weird the first time, but the music was good and the intensity was great. They can beat BK because they can generate a lot more GE.

Madison Scouts
Powerful performance. Sure sounds like the Scouts of yore. Everyone was shocked that they fell two spots. It wasn't very clean, but it didn't look dirty enough to fall that far back. I'll have to look at the recap to see what happened. If they clean it, it's a better show than BK.

Santa Clara Vanguard
The music was better than last year, but the aura is gone. It's as if Vanguard is just another corps now. They sounded good, they looked good, but everyone above them was better in almost every way.

Carolina Crown
Despite the 40 minute delay and having to start the show twice, they were very good. The horns were strong and played very clean. This is a top 6 corps now that they quit the singing.

The Cadets
Wow... what a dichotomy. Parts of the show were flat-out awesome. They apparently dropped a lot of singing and held it to a minimum, which helped. What singing there was totally detracted from the horn line, which was playing at the same time. The percussion feature stuff was great, the spectacular guard work was a crowd pleaser. What was missing was, frankly, the horns. I spent virtually the entire second half of the show watching the guard and not paying attention to the horns, which weren't very memorable. There's just too much going on in this show and the music doesn't give you anything to hang your hat on.

A very strong horn presence, and very good visuals. These guys are for real. I do not expect Cadets to catch them.

Phantom Regiment
WOW!!!! What a powerful, intense program. The guard was fantastic, the drum line was strong, and the horns were UNREAL! Those long, deep chords just filled the dome and sent the crowd nuts! There's a better chance of Phantom catching Devils than Bluecoats catching them.

Blue Devils
They went on after Cavies, which was not good for them tonight. The horn line is good, but the music is missing a little something. The drum line is very good. What's missing is a guard equal to anyone else in the top 6. I virtually forgot the guard was there for half the show. They need to tinker with the ending and liven it up to have any chance against...

I cannot see this show getting beat the rest of the year. Everything about it is perfect. The guard uniforms are fantastic, the whole "robot machine" movements come off great, they have GE out the ying-yang in this show. If they continue to clean it up and play well, this show will win them another title.

I like that sabre and rifle tosses are back, especially group tosses and serious hang time. I like how the guard flows into, around and through most of the horn drill, rather than putting them off to the side. I like the amps for the pit. It lets them play the instruments the way they were meant to be played, but DCI needs to put one set of speakers and a board up so that each corps is not responsible for their own setup. It would also even the playing field across all corps.

One more thing.... QUIT SINGING!!!!!! it just sucks


Hey all...had a BLAST at the show last night and brought my mom with me...her first live viewing. She was so impressed. It is neat to hear what a first time viewer of a live show notices. She only saw one drop from the guards the whole night, lol (there were more of course). She thought the bands...I mean corps (she is learning the difference)....were unbelievable.

Attendance was 16,000....great LOUD crowd. But what a storm, that was crazy! Good thing we were in the Dome despite the pipe breaking b/c of all the water pressure coming off the Dome roof. Echo was there...but oh well.

Here is a brief review...the afternoon corps are short and to the point, having a tough time remembering the little things.

Cavies - There is your 2006 winner, just wow! Crowd went nuts at many points of the show. This was my mom's, my boy friend's and my favorite by far. They just have the total package. So much GE and you never forget what this one is about. Can't wait to see it again in Madison!

Blue Devils - Great show...great music, but the drill just doesn't have the WOW factor that the Cavies or Phantom has. I think this should be in 3rd....but their guard is very impressive. Do they even know how to drop their equipment???

Phantom - Great show with great music. The Demon Posse was great...those boys added so much to the show and are great with the equipment. They should be in 2nd by Finals...and I don't think this is impossible. Keep it up!

Bluecoats - Hmmmm...good show, but as much as I hate to say it, it kinda let me down. I expected a little more. Don't get me wrong...they performed great and their guard was spectacular, but when they finished, I just felt like it let me down. The crowd didn't respond near is loud as during the Cadets. Good show...but I think maybe 5th place at Finals. Heck...Crown could finish over them and I wouldn't be disappointed..

Cadets - LOVED it...totally surprised me, it was just aweome and the crowd ATE IT UP! I can't believe they were 5th behind Bluecoats...that will change by Finals. There is a lot going on, but it wasn't as distracting as I thought. The singing midway through wasn't bad at all. I don't understand why they have been getting so much crap lately. The corps members must have felt great though because the crowd went NUTS many times throughout the show and got a standing O at the end. This was the first show that my mom said "I want to see that again!". The guard work was incredible, the drill was incredible, the music was awesome. Congrats surprised me in a big way last night!! Another one I CAN'T WAIT to see in Madison.

Crown - Incredible guard work and their drill is much more difficult than the past few years. The thing where the guard picks another guard member up and runs over the other guard members was a very cool effect. Loved the guard uniforms and the plumes, the purple is great. Great crowd reaction. Oh that sound...Crown knows how to play! They should take 6th in the end.

SCV - Great show...lots of music and cool effects. Don't really get the horn player that slowley marches around the field for the first half of the show. Really don't understand what that is about. I tried to explain the whole Moto Perpetuo thing for my mom, but she still scratched her head and wondered what his purpose was. Great comeback from last year... but Crown is better IMO. Didn't like the quiet ending marching off the field into the tunnel. I want a loud impacting ending!

Madison - Who said they were having an off year??? Loved this show and their guard was great. I can't believe they are in 10th. The hometown crowd will eat this up in Madison.... Atlanta sure did. The guard uniforms...yes, they are odd...but they fit the show very well and are very effective. They are marching and running all over the place and their execution must be improving. Should be above BK IMO...maybe even Boston. Another big surprise for me. I just don't get their score at all.

Blue Knights - Surprised this one finished so far above Boston and Madison. The show just let me down and didn't get much crowd response. They performed it just didn't have many WOW moments like Madison and Boston. This should be 10th, maybe 11th. Saw them rehearse on Friday, and well, the morale was interesting. They just didn't seem to be having much fun. Apparently they have lost members and instructors b/c of high school band camps...this according to one of their cooks. So not sure what you can believe about that.

Boston - Love their new uniforms this year! The red with silver sash just pops! The red is much brighter than years past. Music was beautiful and the props worked well. Also more enjoyable than BK IMO. Saw them rehearse on Friday and the morale was great! They are having so much fun.

Glassmen - I think 11th place is good for them even though it was more interesting than BK...but Spirit might pass them. Love the guard unis...the purple adds so much color to the field. The deaf segment of the show followed by the big pop gives you chills.

Spirit - One of the best 12th place shows I have ever seen. Lot of home town fans made for a loud audience response throughout the show. That first hit...well, what a way to start the evening program. Their sound, drill work, and guard work are all a big step up from the past few years. They should be in 10th or 11th IMO.

Colts - Big step up from Blue Stars, Cap Reg and Crossmen. Any other year, this would be in Finals with out a doubt. I hope they can tie Spirit...they are both worthy of Finals. It bothers me that this may not make was that good. Great guard work throughout the show, you could tell they were into it.

Crossmen - Enjoyable show, but it is finishing where it should. It isn't up to the standard of Colts. I even think Blue Stars should be above them.

Blue Stars - Narration didn't bother me much at all and I think they had a very enjoyable show...and I usually don't go for the patriotic themed shows. Loved the singing from the corps proper..unamped...great effect!

Capital Regiment - Very good show, but need to work on volume levels. It just never seemed to change. Frisbee throw across the field was cool!

Southwind - This should be above Mandarins and Capital Regiment. The Duality effect was fun and obvious. I don't understand why this is scoring so low.

Mandarins - Good show...but I am having trouble remember things. I think the guard was pretty good though.

The Magic - Better than I had expected. They are scoring/placing where they should...but it wasn't bad at all.

Seattle - Nice full sound...but you can tell they are very very young...especially their guard. Many drops.

Esperanza - I really liked their music. They have some marching issues to work out, but the show was enjoyable and different. Guard was fun to watch.

Missed Corpvets and Jubal.

Finale - Blue Devils and Cavies together...NICE!! Not a big fan of the arrangement, but it sounded great. I want America/O'Canada back.

Disappointed no encore by Cavies...think it was because it was so late.

Hope we get another regional next year in Atlanta....16,000 in attendance makes it promising! Great to meet Big Mo at the afternoon show.


My wife took me to Atlanta as a present for my birthday - What a gift! Overall, the entire event was very well run and the Georgia Dome is a great venue for future shows. A little on our history: neither of us had the opportunity to march in a corp but we both marched in high school and then minored in music in college. So on to our review!

12th 81.275 - Spirit of Atlanta - Our Placement 12th: Their musical arrangements were nice but left us wanting a little more melody. Opening statement was powerful but then drifted for the remainder of the show. Guard was good - some unison issues. Overall they had a great sound and got the night off to a great start.

11th 82.9 - Glassmen - Our Placement 11th: What a great sound and easily understood theme! They had some incredibly nice musical moments and we loved the silence (representing Beethoven's loss of hearing) and then restatement of Ode to Joy. Guard - The hoop skirts were o.k. but the bright pink color wasn't appropriate for Beethoven's time. Overall though, this is one of the best Glassmen shows in years - No doubt!

10th 84.25 - Madison Scouts - Our Placement 10th: The brass and percussion had a good night; loved the screechers at the end of the opener. The guard is holding them back though - Sloppy; no attention to ending one phrase before moving on to the next; also missed some great visual and GE opportunities. On the other hand, the guard uniforms weren't that bad. If the guard can pull it together, Madison should stay in 10th or possibly a little higher.

9th 84.55 - Boston Crusaders - Our Placement 9th: The visual touches (arches, etc.) really complemented the theme of their program well but there weren't any "WOW" moments. Brass sounded nice; guard was good - nice unison throughout. Nice climactic ending to the show as well. They will have to be "ON" to keep Madison from passing them at finals.

8th 86.4 - Blue Knights - Our Placement 8th: Deservedly ahead of Boston - They know how to sell their show with a dark and powerful sound that easily absorbs you into their program. Guard nailed it tonight and their uniforms match the theme of the program without a doubt. Nice guard soloist at the end. Can see this show catching SCV at finals.

7th 86.625 - Santa Clara Vanguard - Our Placement 7th: During the first movement it seemed some of the guard didn't fit in with the rest of the corp - just kind of stuck out there with no particular direction; plus they were bunched up which made it look more sloppy. My wife noticed a lot of alignment issues that carried on throughout the entire program as well. On the positive side though - GORGEOUS ballad, nice blue flags, wonderful long held-out chord at the end - CHILLS!!! Although they were dirty visually, they did make a great effort down to the tiniest detail to promote the theme of "perpetual motion" throughout the entire show. They can hold on to 7th and possibly move up to 6th by finals; definitely will depend on Crown and Blue Knights though.

6th 87.0 - Carolina Crown - Our Placement - 6th: Once they started my wife turned to me and said "WOW! Where'd they come from?" Crown was on tonight folks! Confident and assertive - cleverly delivered package! Guard nailed it! Best brass sound I've heard from them! The race for 6th is going to be tight!

5th 90.15 - Cadets - Our Placement 5th: The characters (Alice, White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, and Mad Hatter) were a little too much - they had a LOT of energy (like 4 cups of espresso too much) and were distracting towards the end. The show became hard to enjoy because there was so much happening at once. And last, if you're going to use an amp then make sure it works! The soloist was drowned out during the ballad and also during a couple of her speaking parts...very frustrating to say the least. However, as a whole, the corp performed very well. They had some excellent strong crowd pleasing moments (the pink tables turned on their sides and some "inyourface" guard tosses and catches) and generated a lot of cheers from the crowd. I would have preferred to see more "corps moments" instead of those intensely energetic people jumping around the field.

4th 90.725 - Bluecoats - Our Placement 4th: I was excited about finally seeing the Bluecoats given the year they had been having. They were clean, with a nice sound...just no big "WOW" moments so I was a little disappointed. Guard uniforms were probably the best of the night. They just looked good on the field and you weren't forced to try and figure out what in the world they were wearing. Cadets could push past them at finals though.

3rd 92.0 - Phantom Regiment - Our Placement 2nd: They started selling the show as soon as they took the field! They have the total package and definite emotional impact and connection with the audience. The horns had a deep dark magnificent sound; the red on the snare drums was a nice touch. The drums had a nice "push" during the middle of the show and the mellophones had this incredible line in the last segment that just ripped my heart out...Man! Can't wait to hear them again. Guard was better than last year and the demon posse integrated very well with the rest of the group. Prettiest silks of the night! They were only one point behind the Devils and I thought that was too much - Phantom's GE was incredible. They can definitely move ahead of the Blue Devils by finals.

2nd 93.0 - Blue Devils - Our Placement 3rd: The opener grabs you when they lay the Godfather theme out there...but the next 2-3 times doesn't do much at all. They were clean...but no true "slamitinyourfacewe'regonnebefirstthisyear" moments. I still don't know how one of the judges had them over the Cavaliers in GE. The guard was clean - no huge moments either though. Can see them dropping to 3rd and Phantom stepping on up.

1st 93.025 - Cavaliers - Our Placement 1st: And here's your 2006 DCI Champion folks! My wife said "They had me from Hello." They took time to carefully detail even the smallest items throughout the show. Their marching was beyond clean and the guard perfectly accompanied the corp. What else can I say? They had the crowd on its feet numerous times! No way Blue Devils were that close in GE - not hardly. The spread should have been larger.

Wrap-Up - Think Cavies will be first followed by Phantom Regiment. Bluecoats and Cadets will be vying for 4th and it will be a three-way-race for 6th between Crown, SCV, and Blue Knights. I would not be surprised to see the Glassmen move up a few spots as well.

Marc Finch

Binghamton, NY (DCA)

I went to the Binghamton show. Here are my thoughts. (for what its worth)

White Sabers are my fav. underdog!!! I absolutely love this Corps and what they give the audience! They are heart and soul and wear it on their sleeve (proudly, I might add)!!! This Corps is *growing* somewhere and soon, I pray~ If you live in their area... please join them!! You'll be a better person for it. And you'll have a great time!!

Sky- my long love of Corps.... Great show but, I don't see the big spread in scores between them and White Sabers. Perhaps I'm blinded a bit by pure entertainment. Loved both Corps!

Can someone please explain to me the Brigs' show? Yeah, Mulan Rouge... got it...... now what? Yes, they are good at what they do.... But, sheesh... are they on the field for like an hour or two or what? And please tell me what those props are?? Very distracting in MO. Best part of their show (for me) was the pit. They kick ass.

I hadn't heard much of anything about Bush..... this Corps really surprised me! Very pleasant show! And a job well done, I might add. They were a stealth Corps. They nailed the audience!! WOW!

Empire was great! As usual. Now I've never been a fan of the *Empire Stage Band* (lol) But, I gotta tell ya.... this year? DAMN!! This year, they are a CORPS. And they are out in full force to prove it!!!

Bucs!! Holy Good Mother Of GOD!!!!! What did I say, Donnie? Besides OMG! And, SWEET!!! Holy Sheet.... it was SO obvious who the winner was.

Ok, where do I stand for my hanging?


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